One of our garden visitors we rarely see is the hedgehog. Two reasons for this: being nocturnal they tend to wait till we’ve gone to bed before they venture out and the other, sadly, is the sharp decline in their numbers. This year has been particularly bad for our prickly friends, owing to a parasite, the thorny-headed worm. Hedgehog Welfare, a charity based near Grantham, treats and releases hundreds of hedgehogs every year but this year almost half the hedgehogs they cared for died or had to be euthanised because of the parasite. Medication can kill the worm, but it decays inside the hedgehog and causes peritonitis. Janet, Hedgehog Welfare’s CEO, and their vet have contacted some of the country’s leading wildlife vets in their quest for a solution. So far, they have not found one but, it seems the problem is confined to Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire at present.
If you’re fortunate enough to have hedgehogs in your garden, please do your bit to help them. Leave out fresh water in a heavy saucer that won’t tip over and sprinkle a few meat-based kitten biscuits around. Leaving an area of your garden a bit wild, some long grass, perhaps a log pile or a heap of leaves under a piece of wood propped against a fence for hibernation will help. No need for an expensive hedgehog house. And please don’t use slug pellets; poisoned slugs kill a lot of hedgehogs. If you find a sick, injured or underweight hedgehog, you can call Hedgehog Welfare on 07940 714830.
If you want any more information call Jan on 01777 709974 or 07969 180067 or email janwilliamson133@gmail.com. If you would like to receive email updates of the North Notts Local Group of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s activities, please email Jan with your request.